health reform

Medicare Advantage Plans Have Great Promise But They Are Not Delivering

Medicare Advantage (MA) managed care plans have the potential to vastly improve care for older adults in the US. A fully-integrated health model that combines primary and specialty care, physical therapy, hospital care and even some limited personal supports could improve the quality of life for patients and save the government a substantial amount of money. But increasingly, analysts say [...]

By |2022-06-15T10:18:56-04:00June 15th, 2022|Medicare|0 Comments

A Two-Year Reprieve For Medicare Insolvency Sounds Like Good News. But It Isn’t

The Medicare trustees’ new estimate that the program’s Part A Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust fund will remain solvent for an extra two years—to 2028—sounds like good news. But dig deeper into the 257-page report and the news is grim for the future of Medicare and its 64 million beneficiaries. Headlines from the trustees’ annual report always focus on the depletion [...]

By |2022-06-08T10:22:22-04:00June 8th, 2022|Medicare|0 Comments

What Striking Down The Affordable Care Act Would Mean For Seniors

US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s Friday night decision to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act would damage the well-being of older adults, those 50-64 nearing Medicare, and frail elders and younger people with disabilities who are receiving long-term care benefits under Medicaid. Many lawyers believe the ruling is poorly reasoned and likely would be reversed on appeal. However, it [...]

By |2018-12-17T14:09:45-05:00December 17th, 2018|Health reform|1 Comment

The Heated Battle Over Whether Medicare Advantage Should Offer Personal Services

The Trump Administration and a bipartisan majority in Congress have moved to allow Medicare Advantage managed care plans to offer a wide range of personal services such as home delivered meals,   transportation, and bathroom grab bars—to members who need them. This would be a sea change in the way Medicare has supported older adults with chronic conditions for the past [...]

By |2018-07-29T17:16:10-04:00July 27th, 2018|Medicare|2 Comments

Will Trump’s Drug Plan Reduce Costs For Seniors On Medicare?

The Trump Administration is heavily promoting what it calls its “Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.” But will the plan reduce out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries? The answer is: Not by much, at least not very soon. And, in some cases, it could even make drugs more costly. The first problem is that the paper really isn’t [...]

By |2018-05-30T14:35:35-04:00May 30th, 2018|Donald Trump, Medicare|3 Comments

When It Comes To Helping Patients Find Social Supports, Docs Say, “Not My Job.”

A doctor diagnoses your mother with heart disease. She can no longer drive and you know she needs help with transportation to her medical appointments. You ask for advice---and get a blank stare. Or you are dismissed. A growing body evidence shows that social supports may improve the overall well-being of people with medical conditions, especially chronic illness (here and [...]

By |2018-05-21T13:35:19-04:00May 21st, 2018|Health Care|0 Comments

An Easy Way To Reduce Health Costs…And Patient Stress

Health experts often focus on the needs of a relatively small number of people who are the heaviest users of medical treatment. You know: that five percent of Medicare beneficiaries who account for half the program’s costs. But a new study published in the October volume of the journal Health Affairs (paywall) looks at another cost-driver in our health care [...]

By |2018-02-14T12:43:53-05:00November 22nd, 2017|Health Care|0 Comments

Medicare Spends Far More On Older Adults Who Need Personal Assistance

Want to know if an older adult is likely to use lots of medical care? Just ask if she needs help with living activities such as bathing, dressing, or getting out of bed. In a new study with important implications for both caregivers and policymakers, researchers at the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) found that Medicare spends an average of three [...]

By |2018-02-14T12:43:53-05:00October 30th, 2017|Medicare|2 Comments

A Step Down The Road To Better Medicare For Those With Chronic Disease

Last week, the Senate quietly and unanimously passed a bill that would improve some Medicare benefits for people with chronic disease. The measure would do many good things but the most important is this: It would take important steps toward breaking down the wall between medical treatment and non-medical supports and services in Medicare, beginning a process that would make [...]

By |2018-02-14T12:43:53-05:00October 4th, 2017|Medicare|5 Comments